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sql server database replication?

I was given a spec sheet to build a sql sever environment which is highly available. I was told the servers need to be at two separate offices. Only one sever should be active at a time, but the secondary sever should always have the most recent database. Nothing is currently built. I'm up to suggestions and looking for the simplest and most economical solution.

Given the details below how can I setup a single instance sql cluster with database replication?

Primary and secondary site are virtualized with VMware
Primary and secondary site are utilizing two different vendor SANs
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard on both sides to host SQL
SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard will be on both Windows servers
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Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
Nothing is currently built. I'm up to suggestions and looking for the simplest and most economical solution
Given the details below how can I setup a single instance sql cluster with database replication?

I don't think the Replication would be the simplest and most economical solution. Did you think in others solutions?
Mirroring or Log shipping for example? A regional cluster perhaps?
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First LastAuthor Commented:
I am purchasing licenses two allow for up to two servers with a copy of SQL 2008 R2 Standard on each.

Isn't Mirroring only available in Enterprise edition of SQL? I have SQL 2008 R2 Standard :/

If I do a regional cluster, does that take care of the database too? I thought clustering meant there was a shared storage SAN where the databases reside. I have two different SANS thus zero shared storage, because the SQL servers will be at two different offices.


I'm very new to this, a few hours into reading, and this link below is what I've used to help me understand different options.
https://nirajrules.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/snapshot-vs-logshipping-vs-mirroring-vs-replication/
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Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
Isn't Mirroring only available in Enterprise edition of SQL?
No. It's also available for Standard Edition. Check here for Features by Edition.

I thought clustering meant there was a shared storage SAN where the databases reside
Yes it does but when you have a node (or more) in a separate location/datacenter you'll need to have the ability for SAN replication. So this depends on your SAN solutions.
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First LastAuthor Commented:
My SANs are from different vendors. There is no real SAN replication. The best I have is some software called Veeam which will backup a drive from one virtual machine and replicate it to another virtual server in a different location. It is slow using changed block tracking. I'm looking for something faster.  

Considering what you know about my needs, what would you suggest?
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Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
From my experience I wouldn't use Replication to replicate full database. It's good for replicate some tables or records but not full database. For that you can use mirroring or log shipping since geo-cluster may be complex and also not cheap.
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Aaron TomoskySD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
From your description, MS points you toward "Availability Group for HA and DR"
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlcat/archive/2013/11/20/sql-server-2012-alwayson-high-availability-and-disaster-recovery-design-patterns.aspx

I've no experience with this personally, but the vendor recommendation is usually a good place to start.
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